Nurse believes in putting patients first

BelangerSPRINGFIELD – For Westfield nurse Roberta Belanger, RN, the decision to become a nurse was a perfect match for her personality.
“They used to give you these tests that would match your personality to whatever kind of job they thought would be good for you, and nursing happened to be one of the jobs that cross matched with me. So, I thought that I would give it a try, and I’ve never looked back,” Belanger said.
Belanger, an endoscopy nurse at Baystate Medical Center, went on to attend the former Baystate School of Nursing after graduating from high school. A nurse for 23 years, Belanger first brought her caregiving talents to patients in critical care for 10 years before moving to endoscopy.
Endoscopy is the practice of looking into people’s throats, intestines, stomach and lungs using an instrument called an endoscope – a long, thin tube with a tiny camera attached to the end. One of the more common procedures many people are familiar with is a colonoscopy, a procedure to look at the large intestine, which tends to frighten many who are faced with taking it.
“Many people are anxious when they come to us for a procedure because of what they might have heard from a friend about the test, and it’s our job to make them feel more at ease, “said Belanger.
National Nurses Week, May 6-12, focuses attention on the nation’s largest health care profession and the many ways America’s 3.1 million registered nurses like Belanger work to save lives and to improve the health of millions of patients. This year’s theme is “Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care.”
“I like talking with my patients and teaching them. People often have to go through a lot to get better and to stay healthy, and it can be scary for them. Nurses are there to help them through it all,” said Belanger about her role as a nurse.
Sponsored by the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the many ways in which registered nurses are working to improve health care. Often described as an art and a science, nursing embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers from working in hospitals to school-based clinics to long-term care facilities, as well as many other areas. And, nurses have many roles from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher.
Ask the Whip City nurse what she most enjoys about nursing, and she’ll tell you it’s the impact she can make on the lives of her patients.
“My favorite part about being an endoscopy nurse is that you can genuinely see that you are making a difference. Patients are coming in for screenings afraid of the procedure and what doctors might find. But, once they walk through the door, we try to put them at ease by telling them that it’s going to be an easy process, that they are going to be very comfortable, and that they are going to do well. In the end, it’s a good feeling to know that they trusted you and that everything went fine,” Belanger said.
National Nurses Week begins on May 6, also known as RN Recognition Day, and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. During the special week, registered nurses throughout the country and at Baystate Health will be honored in several ways, including displays of research conducted by Baystate nurses, a nursing gala and awards ceremony, and various educational activities.
Baystate Medical Center has been re-designated for the second time as a Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing services – a distinction that places the hospital’s nursing staff among the finest in the nation. Nationally, only about 6.9% of all health care organizations carry Magnet designations.
For more information on Baystate Medical Center, visit

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